29 Jul 2021: NSR Formula 86/89 – Serious?

Serious?

Slot car racing. It’s a hobby, right? One that isn’t taken too seriously and where, when it all goes wrong, drivers dismiss their disappointment with a shrug and a smile. Don’t they?

Er, no. Judged by the amount of under-the-breath muttering and grumpiness filling the clubroom, several drivers were taking this week’s NSR F1 race a bit more seriously than a light-hearted hobby.

Now we’re free to mingle in large groups without restriction – a vaccine passport tattooed onto a buttock isn’t yet a Government requirement – it was a bit disappointing that only seven drivers turned up, but at least all were eager to race.

After defeat last week, Josh bounced back, taking an early lead that he’d hold to the end and setting several new lane records along the way. Julian struggled to match Josh’s pace, a couple of crashes knocking bits from his car and causing a fair amount of disgruntled muttering. He finished second, three laps adrift.

The evening’s closest battle was between Terry and David for third, Terry outscoring David three to one in crashes, but lapping faster to finish 0.09 of a lap ahead. Not all was lost to David though, his post-crash muttering winning the unprintable-expletive competition.

Ed’s race was notable for its crashes and delays, some of his own making and others not, and his muttering which kept everyone else amused. He did, though, concede with a smile that “it’s only toy cars”, which lost him the grump-of-the-night award (shared between David and Julian), but was at least gracious.

Which leaves Neil and Baz. Neil did his usual half-dozen warm up laps and consequently took a while to get going, but was a model of restraint and inaudible to the grumpometer. Even Baz, usually the most placid of drivers, issued a few mutterings of frustration, a result of crash damage that took several attempts to repair and saw him slow badly after heat 1. It was a shame, because he’d started promisingly, getting very close to breaking the nine-second barrier, which is an encouraging sign for the future given that this was only his third visit to Molesey.

By the end of the night, everyone was back to their normal happy and jocular ways, but don’t let anyone tell you that in the heat of battle slot car racing isn’t serious. Small plastic model cars they may be, but when the starter says go, these things become deadly-serious racing machines!

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